Im Schatten des Gipfels: Bourgeois Society, Metaphor, and Temporality in Heine’s and Nietzsche’s Mountain Imagery
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This thesis examines the poet Heinrich Heine's and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s critiques of the ideal through an analysis of how mountain imagery is employed in their work. It argues that their use of mountain imagery expresses a reactionary desire to affirm an ultimate ideal in an age where metaphysical ideals are increasingly unbelievable, resulting in an ideal which is self-undermining. This is achieved by identifying how mountain metaphors and allegories are utilized in their criticisms of 19th century liberal-bourgeois culture, where the isolated summit parallels their privileging of individualism over and against mass culture. A discussion of the role of metaphor in their work demonstrates how the mountain heights come to represent an unattainable transcendence. A reading of Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence and Heine’s reflections on temporality through the mountain journey allegories they use identifes a desire to affirm a radically new way of experiencing temporality.